Problems at the Interface between Research and Teaching

Traianou, Anna. 2009. 'Problems at the Interface between Research and Teaching'. In: UNSPECIFIED. Vienna, Austria. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

An important issue that comes out of recent debates about 'evidence-based practice', and the relationship between research and teaching, concerns the understanding of research that practitioners need in order to be able to use research findings in their practice. Views about this vary within the engineering and enlightenment research models, as well as across them. For example, the notion of evidence-based practice (which more or less corresponds to the engineering model) can be interpreted as assuming that research can provide practitioners with generally applicable instructions for the effective treatment of relatively standard practical situations or problems. In this approach, teachers are expected to ‘apply’ to their practice evidence given to them by researchers. While the value of teachers’ professional knowledge is usually acknowledged, on this interpretation it is very much subordinated to research evidence. Moreover, little emphasis is placed upon the idea that practitioners must make a critical assessment of research findings, either in their own terms or in relation to background experiential knowledge. We also find some variation on this issue within the enlightenment model. Some authors here see research as a quite separate activity from educational practice, and as providing resources that practitioners may employ on particular occasions, or ignore, in line with situated judgments about what is most beneficial in the circumstances. This clearly demands some understanding of research on the part of practitioners, but most emphasis falls on the practical knowledge they have built up in the course of their work. It is on the basis of this that they select and interpret what to use from research, and decide how to ‘apply’ it. However, a rather different approach has been adopted by some advocates of action research. Here the function of research is still to enlighten, but in order for it to do this it must be carried out by practitioners themselves in the situations in which they work.

The aim of this paper is to discuss in more detail the expectations that these various views imply about the knowledge that teachers ought to possess in order to be able to use research evidence in their practice. Given the current emphasis that teaching should be a research-based profession, we must ask: ‘what is it reasonable to expect of practitioners in terms of their understanding of research and its contribution to their practice?’

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


educational research; evidence-based practice; research knowledge; professional practice

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


28 September 2009Published

Event Location:

Vienna, Austria

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Oct 2010 13:31

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2012 12:54


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